Friday, 24 April 2015

A London bucket list

Living 20 minutes from London means I'm in the big city fairly often. It's fair to say I find it hard to stay away. But I tend to go to the same places and certain boroughs. I like what I know and definitely have my favourite parts that never get old. But London is a big place and I've got a few things on my list that I've never done. Things that I need to do. Here's a list of the things I'd like to tick off my list in the Big Smoke.

1. Climb the o2
I personally think the o2 is amazing - what they've done to it since it was the Millennium Dome is brilliant. It's by far my favourite arena to see something, Wembley Area just seems to dated in comparison. My sister in law climbed to the top not so long ago and it looked incredible. On a clear day, it's said you can see for up to 15 miles. It would equally be amazing to go at sunset and see the city start to light up. We all know I'm a sucker for a good view!

2. Visit an open air cinema
Every year for the past five years I've vowed to visit an open air cinema in the summer. I've yet to make the trip. I've got visions of Grease in my mind and all I need is my very own Danny Zuko.  Ideally I'd like to venture to the courtyard of the beautiful Somerset House. Here's hoping this is the summer I finally catch a film under the stars.

3. Ice skate at The Tower of London
The Tower of London is my favourite building in the whole city. The history draws me in and I adore the myths and legends that go hand in hand. I've always harboured a secret desire to be a Beefeater. It looks stunning during the night all lit up amongst the more modern buildings. In the winter they transform the moat into a giant ice ring. I always wander wistfully past wishing I'd booked myself a ticket. This Christmas I'm hoping to finally get down on that moat.

4. Go to Columbia Road Flower Market
I'm an East London girl. It's my favourite part of town and the bit that closest to my home. But despite exploring most of what it has to offer, I'm still yet to wander around the flower market. Travesty I know! I always look on with such envy when I scroll through my instagram on a Sunday morning. I'm also dying to sample one of Lily Vanilli's cakes!

5. Go to the Ballet
I'm even sure if I'm going to like the ballet but I'd like to give it a shot. I've walked past the Royal Opera House hundreds of times and always fantasised about putting on a fancy dress and high heels for a show. I've got the Nutcracker in my sights.

6. Whisper in St. Pauls Cathedral
Admittedly the price of St Pauls has put me off in the past. But I'd like to visit the whispering gallery in the dome. It's said you can hear whispers from one side to another. Although I'd heard that so many people are whispering that it's too loud!

7. Take a Jack The Ripper tour
I'm a secretly morbid person. I love watching documentaries about serial killers and I get far to excited when I hear Louis Theroux has a new show. I'm fascinated by Jack The Ripper and would love to go on a spooky tour of all his haunts.

8. Hire a Boris bike
Although cycling around London scares the bejezzles out of me, I love the romantic notion of cycling around on a bike with a picnic in my backpack. Although if I'm honest I'll probably stick to the parks where there isn't buses!

What's on your London bucket list?

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Galena Photo Diary

Galena charmed the pants off me. It was one of the most quaint, picturesque towns I've visited. Everyone was so friendly and were keen to have a chat as soon as you walked into their shops. Very different to London! The beautiful weather just seemed to make the town glow. We were treated to weather in the 20s which was such a lovely shock to the system after surviving 0 degrees in Chicago. I'd forgotten what warmth felt like!

We had a tour of the historic Main Street led by such an enthusiastic tour guide. I love it when someone really knows what they're talking about especially when they through a little ghost story into the mix. After we had a few hours free time so I wandered up the hill to take in the town in all it's glory. Stunning!

Suited Downtown, we stayed in the charming Farmer's Guesthouse. Full of incredible knick kacks and a magical cookie jar that was filled up every day, it was such a joy to stay in. They even had an incredible daily event called Wine Time every day with cheese - can we please implement it at 5pm every day? It was by far my favourite place I stayed throughout the trip. The bed was very hard to leave in the morning! Just look at that breakfast below - perfection.

One of the things I was looking forward to the most was the tour of Blaum Bros. Distillery. It was set up just a year ago but has been a roaring success. The tour didn't disappoint! I managed to sample some Hellfyre vodka that very nearly blew my head off. I'm not the best when it comes to shots let along when they contain chilli. Not an experience I'm keen to repeat again.

We were also treated to a tour around Ulysses Grant's home - the 18th president of the United States. A man I admit I didn't really know but it was interesting to learn a bit about him. This history geek never turns down the chance to find out about the past.

It was such a shame not to spend longer in Galena - they had some cracking restaurants - but it was time to move on. Rockford, the last part of the trip, is coming soon!

Sunday, 19 April 2015

OOTD: Floral Duster Jacket

Navy floral duster jacket: c/o George at ASDA
Black chiffon blouse: c/o George at ASDA
Light denim turn up jeans: c/o George at ASDA
Nude patent heeled court shoes: Topshop (similar)

This is the final post of my collaboration with George At ASDA on their #geniusjeans campaign. This time I opted for more of a dressier outfit with a pretty floral duster jacket. It's the perfect transition piece for Spring now that the weather is starting to warm up. Paired with a pair of heels, it can go from day to evening in one quick swoop. These jeans are a bit stiffer than my previous ones but after a few wears I imagine they'll fit like a jean. I'm such a sucker for a good turn up - just makes them look a little more interesting eh?

The weekend has yet again been a lazy one. I've tried to stay in for the whole of April in a bid to cut down on my manic spending. Bar Chicago obviously - the credit card had a good work out over there. It feels weird to still have money in my bank account three weeks into payday. But it's been nice to spend my weekend at home to be honest. Usually I'm booking things up 24/7 and find when Monday rolls around, I'm absolutely exhausted. That said, I'm ready for May to come. Looks like it's going to be a busy one!